They Planted Trees on the Roof

“I got to Kansas City on a Frid’y.  By Sattidy I larned a thing or two.  For up to then I didn’t have an idy, of whut the modren world was comin’ to! 
Everything’s up to date in Kansas City!  They gone about as fer as they can go.  They went an’ built a skyscraper seven stories high–about as high as a buildin’ orta grow.”   
Will Parker singing about his experiences in the big city from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma.

{Submitted by Kirk R. Brown for J.B. approval.  Kansas City, Missouri.  Kauffman Center}

National Green Center

The green roof on the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

John, on the way back home, I had to stop at this new center for the arts in the heart of downtown Kansas City.  It was an amazing end to the journey to OZ and back.  There is a roof on the end of the building that is covered with trees and ornamental grass.  Just look at it!  Amazing technology.  Sustainable and beautiful all at the same time!  And GREEN.

National Green Center

The double shells of the exterior mask the opposing rings of the interior spaces.

The roof had several levels visible from the interior spaces.

National Green Center, Kansas City Kansas

Multi-level green roof.

At the core of this building are two fabulous performance spaces that allow artists their full range of musical and dramatic expression.  The close end houses the orchestral space.  The magnificent organ and unique pipe installation has yet to be voiced and played.

National Green Center

The Symphony side of the Arts Center is a flexible concert space.

The interior space is wood clad an offers perfect acoustics.  Beautiful organic surfaces.  Pins would drop noisily.

National Green Center Kansas City Kansas

These arcs of wood oppose the exterior shells of the building.

The upper shell is home to the Kansas City Opera Company and all of the touring shows requiring a fully functional theatrical road house.

National Green Center Kansas City Kansas

The fire curtain was down on the tour.

The interior grand tier is designed to give the audience an impression of being inside a chandelier.  The walls are back-lit crystal panels.  The halls a painted in large fields of color.

National Green Center Kansas City KS

The Circle combines private boxes with grand tier seating.

It was a private tour on a very quick stop.  But I wanted to share with you the amazing sites that are changing the face of the way we look at and treat our landscapes.  This view of nature was supremely artistic.

National Green Center, Kansas City Kansas

The lobby expands out into the space between the performance venues.

And then on my way to the car in the parking garage, I heard strange music coming from a group of pipes glowing with the changing melodic patterns.  Wow.  This was a grand way to finish up an amazing experience.

National Green Center, Kansas City Kansas
The music and tonal coloration joined the spheres of art and performance.

The trip ended at the drive up from the garage.

National Green Center Kansas City Kansas

The end of the Kansas City experience on the way to the airport.

Travels Through a Green Nation

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Confucius

“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance;  one cannot fly into flying.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

My amanuensis, Kirk R. Brown, has scheduled some days apart from me in this winter season.  He is attending to his personal business on many fronts relating to the greening of America.  These days and in this particular season they have gatherings of our clans of fellow gardeners across this vast country of ours.  He loves what he does.  His connections are numerous and his ease on meeting strangers makes good friends of potential enemies.  He plays the fool well but does not easily suffer them.

Kansas City National Green Center

This is a trade show rebranded from the original Western Nursery and Landscape Association

These clannish troupings of our tribal green color bring together all manner of possible combinations:  product endorsements, improvements, plants, equipment (a very mannish, clannish thing indeed!), educational opportunities, recognitions, reconnections, and escape from our everyday existence in an office or nursery or garden.  Kirk was farther afield last week than was in my awareness of time and space.

National Green Center Kansas City

Ball Horticultural put out a colorful display of their new selections

He went to Kansas:  a place over the rainbow and a left turn at the North Star.  Great, green fields awaited his arrival.  Fertile oases of alluvial ground watered by a great river in the center of our continent.  In life’s travels we pass many streams but once.  You must make special note of passing a great watershed.  Kirk retells his experience in Kansas last week as the passing of a great watershed.

Western Landscape and Nursery Association

A trade show floor is full of the products from the world of nature. Evergreen!

This clan was rebranded within a twelve-month period.  It was an ancient root out of the west.  Its lands and nurseries were abundant and strong throughout it 125 plus year history.  As with many old things, changes come sometimes planned, sometimes by choice, and most times by need.  Take my own ancient life as an example!  They needed to view life in a new way.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

The latest in equipment for garden illumination. How I wish it had been available in my youth!

The new clan is known as “The National Green Center!”  Isn’t that wonderful?  What a unique concept.  They believe themselves to be the center of this country’s green movement.  Isn’t that brazen?  My Darby Meeting would hardly approve, but then we know what they felt about my outrageousness.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

Color abounded in Kansas City

But this group of wise and far-sighted leaders wished to fly into a new dawn.  Realizing that they had need for wings, they first thought to dance.  The analogy fits like a clogger’s shoe.  It is hard and dynamic–dramatic almost–in its use.  They decided to first refashion the style of production:

They renamed.  They refit.  They colorized.  They developed a sense of Fashion!  They thought to enlist the help of other clans.  They recognized strangers and invited fellow travelers.  They opened the doors in preparedness for the day when the feathers would be dry and flight could be achieved.

Western Nursery and Landscape Association

Networking opportunities were abundant. Michael Dirr confers with Reps from Bailey Nurseries and Ball Horticultural.

I heartily applaud the steps they’ve taken to ensure all of our collective and natural futures.  I congratulate them on their need to be sustainable:  in organization, in fiscal responsibility, and in connection.  With this green botanical nature that courses through all of us, we need to hold close and respect deeply those who choose to do battle with the angry gods of commerce and industry.